Freedom Classic 5K run to continue virtually
After 40 years, the Mundelein Park & Recreation District's Freedom Classic is going in a new direction.
Instead of filling the streets in what has become a traditional part of Mundelein Community Days, the entire event will be held online.
Community Days, which was to have run July 2-5, was canceled by the village board because of the coronavirus pandemic. But organizers at the Mundelein Park District didn't want to skip a year.
"There are so many events being canceled this summer, and the Freedom 5K has always been part of Mundelein Community Days," said Tracie Ouimet, event coordinator for the park district.
"I really felt strongly we had to preserve something for the Fourth of July in Mundelein."
Ouimet said virtual races have become common, especially given the pandemic.
"The possibility of not having the event for its 41st running, even in the face of a pandemic, just didn't seem right," she said.
Instead of lining up for the 41st annual event July 4, participants can run the race on their own anytime July 1-5. They can run in their neighborhood, on a local path, on a treadmill or even on the Freedom Classic 5K course, although roads will not be blocked as for past events and caution is encouraged.
The first 150 participants who register online at www.mundeleinparks.org will receive a T-shirt. All runners will receive a commemorative medal.
Participants should track their time on a watch or a device such as GPS, Garmin, MapMyRun, Strava or others. After completing the 5K, they are encouraged to post a picture with their time on the dedicated Freedom Classic 5K Facebook page.
More serious runners can enter the "Beat the Clock Challenge" by selecting projected finish time and meet with "virtual pace leaders" on the Facebook page.
"These are experienced runners who volunteer their expertise to help racers maintain a certain pace in order to finish the race in a specific time," Ouimet said.
The pace group that has the most runners/walkers come closest to their selected finish time will be recognized in the "Winner's Circle" and receive a Rock-Star Runner certificate.
Online registration must be completed by Wednesday, June 17. Cost is $25. An additional $5 donation to the Mundelein Parks Foundation can be made for recreational scholarships awarded to local families in need.